Narcan is known to be a brand name of medication for naloxone which is used to reverse an overdose in opioid. Therefore, Narcan is injected by a medical professional and the drug is mostly in the form of a nasal spray. The drug can be used in the treatment of the definite, suspected or an overdose when an individual may seem to be having breathing problems or either the individual is unresponsive or in case the person is not breathing at all. The drug blocks the effects of the opioids in the brain of a person, and hence it revives an individual who has overdosed himself or herself. The drug may be used in case of an emergency. Therefore, it is not only for overdose cases. The police, civilians, and EMTs carry out Narcan as the opioid disaster causes a lot of death in the United States. Therefore, Narcan may be seen as a savior or an answer to end the opiate epidemic in the United States now more than ever. Hence the main aim of this paper is to analyze the use of the drugs Narcan and Naloxone, the controversies facing the drugs, and the scope of opiates in the U.S.
The scope of the current opiate and heroin use in the United States
During the late 1990s, the pharmaceutical companies in the U.S assured the medical society would not be addicted to the pain relievers of opioid and h.ence it boosted the confidence of the healthcare which resulted to healthcare providers prescribing the opioid pain relievers at high rates. The increase in the prescription of the opiate drugs to the patients in the U.S during that period led to the misuse of both the medicine and also non-prescription of the opioids and hence it led to high rate of addiction to the drugs. It led to Department of Health and Human Services in 2017 declaring a public health emergency which resulted to the announcement of a 5-Point Strategy which was supposed to combat the Opioid Epidemic in the United States (Pasternak, 2013).
The severe consequences of the opioid crisis put into consideration the rise in opioid misuse and the overdoses that are related to it, also tan increase whereby the newborns experience the withdrawal syndromes because of the use and abuse of the opioid at the time of pregnancy (Robinson, 2014). The opiate or opioid overdoses in the U.S in 2016 has resulted in more than 42,000 deaths which are high than 2015 record which means there is an increased death of people being brought about by this crisis. An estimation of 40% of opioid overdose deaths is as a result prescription of opioid.
There is an increase in the number of Americans using heroin in the year 2016 which is about 948,000 people, and this is according to National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) an increase since 2007. The rise in the drug use has greatly been witnessed in the youths or young adults who are aged between 18 and 25 years. There is an increase in the number of people who are using heroin for the first time which is at 170,000 Americans in 2016, and this doubles the number of individuals that were using heroin in 2006 which was at 90, 000 Americans. But there has been a decline in the number of heroin use amongst the teens who are 12-17 years. The increase in the use of heroin in the United States has led to a large number of people undergoing negative effects that result from repeated use of heroin. In 2016 the number of people that met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or heroin use or heroin use disorder was at 626,000 people who were a rise from 214, 000 people in 2002(Schuckit, 2016).
Heroin use in the United States has been considered as the most vital drug use in the country due to its impact in the region where it affects very many areas in the United States. The increasing damage caused by heroin use in the community level was presented in a report that the NIDA Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) produced. The CEWG has researchers from major areas in U.S and researchers from outside the United States who provide community surveillance of drug use and its impacts in the region. Heroin use has not only dominated itself in urban areas but also in the rural areas in the U.S, and this has been witnessed in rural communities that are close to St. Louis and Chicago whereby it reports an increase in the amount of heroin that was seized by the officials. Also, there has been a rise in the numbers of deaths that are as a result of overdose due to heroin use. Furthermore, heroin use has increased in the urban areas in the United States among adults who are between the age of 18 and 25 years. There has been an increase in the number of people seeking treatment for the heroin use in this age group, hence resulting to 26 percent in 2012 from 11 percent in 2008.
The current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data for Nebraska have revealed that there has been an increase in the number substance abuse treatment rates for the opiate use prescription in 2010 which was seven times higher the previous years. It further reveals that there has been an increase in the death rates that are related to opiate overdose and it is nearing the number that is caused by automobile accidents. In the neighboring cities, the number of overdose deaths has exceeded automobile deaths over the years. The issue is very saddening as the abuse of the opiate claims more lives than the car accidents. An increase in the addiction to opiate has brought negative consequences to the nation, the victim and also the family members. The drug abuse has caused physical, emotional and psychological torture to the victim. The abuse of the drug has caused the country to bare a further burden of coming up with programs which are very costly to face the problem. Furthermore, the administering of the naloxone to the opioid overdose users is quite expensive as the training of personnel is required to counter the crisis.
Some factors have greatly contributed to the severe current problem of the drug problem in the United States. Firstly, it is the increase in the number of prescriptions that are being written and dispensed. Secondly, it is the aggressive nature of the pharmaceutical companies during marking and lastly the large social acceptance for the use of medications for varied reasons. The number of opioids prescriptions in the United States saw an escalation of 76 million of the products in 1991 to around 207 million in 2013 and the biggest consumers are the Americans globally. The increase in the availability of the opioid and other narcotic substances being prescribed has come with negative consequences that result in abuse of the drugs. Opioids in the country have accounted for a greater proportion of the drug prescription problem when it comes to abuse and mortality. There has been an increase in the number of deaths as a result of opioids abuse in the United States in 2002 as cocaine and heroin has been in the lead to the cause of those deaths.
Two controversial issues surrounding the use of Narcan and Naloxone
The controversial issuers surrounding the use of Narcan and Naloxone are it right or wrong? The naloxone drug mostly known as Narcan has played a vital role in saving lives from the opiate epidemic that has been raging the American pupation over the years. There has been debate concerning this life-saving antidote that blocks and reverses the effects of opiate drugs to whether the drug those people who are addicted to heroin and the prescription of the painkillers that are delivered. Those people supporting the use of Naloxone drug states that the drug has saved lives and those who have been saved by the drug will have a better recovery prospect than when the individual lost his or her life. On the other hand, other people worry that the use of Naloxone mostly increases substance abuse among the Americans (Laxmaiah Manchikanti, 2012).
There has been consensus agreement about the naloxone drug overdose whereby it has claimed more lives in the United States more than the car accidents. The number of people who develop opiate use disorder due opiate prescription has increased over the years which translates to 40% and hence doubling the number of overdose rates in the past 15 years. Due to high public demand for Narcan, many drug pharmacies and manufacturers are hence retorting to their demand. The drug is therefore mostly available in syringe form and most occasions used for emergency purposes by the responders.
Naloxone has been an effective and safe tool for emergency responders since it's approval by the FDA in 1971, whereby it has saved a large number of lives from an overdose. According to the CDC report, the drug has saved more than 26, 000 lives of people between 1996 and 2014. Naloxone has been an "opioid antagonist" which bocks the same opioid receptors in the brain where the narcotic painkillers and heroin are bind to where the drug becomes effective within 2-3 minutes after it has been administered to an individual. Naloxone has nearly no impending for abuse and also carries minimal to no side effects, and the drug causes immediate opiate withdrawal effects for the users who experience an opiate overdose. Naloxone has been a game changer for the communities in the United States whereby the heroin users and narcotic painkillers, where it has ravaged them from the overdose of those drugs and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and American Society of Addiction have come together with CDC to support the widespread access to naloxone (Wermeling, 2013).
Those people who think the use of naloxone is wrong states that the drug comes with risks. If an individual is more dependent on opioid, naloxone may force the person into precipitated withdrawal which is dangerous. When a person finds himself in this condition, it makes the victim use more drugs so that he can overcome the effects that come with naloxone. When a person takes more other opioids to overcome naloxone, it may result in re-sedation, and if the person is not in the hospital, he will automatically die. Furthermore, when an individual is forced into withdrawal, it usually results in health complications such as pulmonary edema, heart attack, stroke, and seizure. Although the drug has saved a lot of lives, it may be imposing those risks upon the victims who overdose.
In my opinion, I support the administering of the Naloxone drug fully to those opioid users who overdose themselves because the drug has saved a lot of lives. The drug should, therefore, be made available to every American due to the worsening opioid crisis in the country. Furthermore, more people should be trained on when and how to administer naloxone which will reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. There should be increased measures to distribute more naloxone and enhance the program so that there are improved accesses to the users of the opioid and narcotic substances (Wagner, 2010). The programs should be able to distribute naloxone through the physician's prescriptions for the overdose situations. There should be political goodwill and financial support which will lead to an increase in the distribution capacity of naloxone in the United States.
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